Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said his administration is partnering with OpenAI on a pilot program that will utilize generative AI in state government employee operations.

Gov. Shapiro said the pilot program, overseen by the commonwealth’s Office of Administration (OA), will demonstrate an employee-centered approach that balances innovation with safety, security, and privacy.

The pilot program will use OpenAI’s ChatGPT Enterprise to help government employees understand where and how generative AI tools can be safely and securely leveraged in their daily operations.

The governor’s office said that the pilot is the commonwealth’s first-ever use of generative AI tools for state government employees, and its findings will help guide the wider integration of this technology into state government operations to enhance productivity and empower the commonwealth’s workforce. The pilot also represents OpenAI’s first-ever agreement with a state government.

The governor’s office did note that while the pilot will help commonwealth employees improve customer experience and outcomes for Pennsylvanians, no Pennsylvanian will interact directly with ChatGPT in any way when they interact with the commonwealth.

The pilot will begin this month and will initially be limited to OA employees who will use the tool for tasks such as creating and editing copy, making outdated policy language more accessible, drafting job descriptions to help with recruitment and hiring, addressing duplicative and conflicting guidance within hundreds of thousands of pages of employee policies, helping employees generate code, and more.

Through the pilot, employees will receive individual support and guidance on how they should use the tool, and will also provide continuous feedback to the pilot team to help the commonwealth determine future best uses. An additional 100 licenses will eventually be available to non-OA agency employees for shorter periods of time after initial feedback and findings from OA employees are gathered, the state said in a press release.

“Our goal with the pilot is to work closely with a small number of employees to figure out where we can have the greatest impact using generative AI tools,” said Office of Administration Secretary Neil Weaver, chairman of the Generative AI Governing Board. “Their input will help us understand the practical applications of generative AI in their daily work and how we can best support our workforce as the technology becomes more widespread.”

The enterprise version of ChatGPT used in the pilot program has additional security, privacy, and management features not found in the consumer version. The state also noted that no inputs, feedback, or data input by the commonwealth into the tool will be used to train ChatGPT or future products from OpenAI.

The added cybersecurity measures also ensure that no data of any kind is shared between agencies or separate commonwealth entities. Commonwealth employees may not use any sensitive information – including any Pennsylvanian’s personally identifiable information – when utilizing ChatGPT for day-to-day operations.

“This pilot program is part of our commitment to embrace generative AI in a way that empowers our workforce to excel,” said commonwealth Chief Information Officer Amaya Capellán. “It is a critical first step in the Shapiro Administration’s goal to be a proactive leader in the adoption of generative AI to improve how we operate and deliver services to Pennsylvanians.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs